On The Beltway Boys, Morton Kondracke asserted that Sen. John McCain "may well" be able to "match George Bush's 2004 record of 40 percent" of the Hispanic vote "because he's got a position on comprehensive immigration reform that's humanitarian." But McCain asserted on January 30 that he "would not" support his original comprehensive immigration proposal if it came to a vote on the Senate floor and now says that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective.
The New York Times' Mark Leibovich asserted that the "conventional wisdom" that Sen. John McCain would be "done in by immigration in the Republican primaries" in 2008 "Proved to Be False." But Leibovich did not mention that McCain may have avoided being "done in" by the immigration issue by reversing his position to align himself with the Republican base.
The Des Moines Register asserted that Sen. John McCain is a "supporter of comprehensive immigration reform" without noting that he now says he would not support his bill if it came up for a vote in the Senate, and that he has reversed himself on a key issue. Similarly, the Associated Press reported that "[t]he three leading candidates for president have somewhat similar views on illegal immigration reform," but did not note McCain's reversals.
In an article about Sen. John McCain's general election strategy, the Los Angeles Times reported that McCain's advisers "believe his work on the controversial immigration legislation that included a path to citizenship for many of the nation's illegal immigrants will provide an inroad to Latino voters, particularly in the Golden State." But McCain no longer supports the "controversial immigration legislation" attributed to him -- he now says that "we've got to secure the borders first," and that he would vote against his own comprehensive immigration bill if it came to the Senate floor.
A New York Times Week in Review piece stated: "Senator John McCain, the early Republican front-runner whose championing of the bill [Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007] had made him look soft on illegal immigration, faded in the polls," adding that now McCain has "emphasized border security more than the Democrats have." But the article didn't mention that this "emphasi[s]" on border security is at odds with his previous position.
After citing "illegal immigration" as "the issue with which John McCain is weakest among conservatives," CNN's John King said that members of McCain's presidential campaign "say they will not pander to the talk radio community and that if there is there's backlash from that community, maybe independents will say this guy truly is a maverick, he truly is independent." But King did not note that McCain has reversed his position on immigration to more closely conform to the views of the GOP base.
A Wall Street Journal article asserted that "[w]hile Sen. [John] McCain has shifted his emphasis, talking more now about 'securing the border first,' he remains committed to the broad strokes of his original approach [on immigration reform]." And the Washington Post editorial board wrote that McCain has made "what amounts to only a mild shift in emphasis in his longstanding position." However, McCain's current position -- that the borders must be secured before other reforms can be addressed -- is a reversal of his prior position; McCain previously argued that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Moreover, he now says that he would not support his own legislation if it came up for a vote in the Senate.
NBC's David Gregory stated: "John McCain is not going to pander to the right. He did that once and it didn't work." The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson and MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan both agreed, asserting: "He's not going to do it." In fact, McCain has attempted to satisfy conservative Republicans by reversing his positions on issues such as taxes, immigration, and the religious right.
A USA Today article stated that Sen. John McCain "has been criticized for supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but he has said he would focus on sealing the borders before taking up any other measures," falsely suggesting that McCain's current proposal to secure the borders first is consistent with his prior support for comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, McCain previously argued that border security could not be disaggregated from other provisions in legislation on comprehensive immigration reform, or else it would be ineffective.
In endorsing Sen. John McCain's bid for the Republican presidential nomination, The Baltimore Sun asserted that McCain has "stood his ground" on "immigration reform." However, while McCain now says that border security must be addressed first, he previously said that border security could not be disaggregated from other provisions in the legislation on immigration reform. Similarly, the San Antonio Express-News claimed in its endorsement of McCain that his "advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform" is among the positions that may "be attractive" to "independent voters"; but McCain has said he "would not" vote for his own comprehensive immigration reform proposals.
On Imus in the Morning, Richard "Bo" Dietl said he was "pissed off" because the FBI is expending too many resources prosecuting mob criminals while ignoring the northern border of the United States: "Now, what bothers me is our borders up near Canada are opened up. It looks like the pilgrimage in to Mecca, the amount of 'Aba Dabba Doos' that are coming in from Canada in to the United States. ... We should take some of our great FBI agents and station them up there so they can make some oberservationtations [sic] about these guys, Al Swawahiwi [sic] and all his brothers and cousins coming through there."
On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle claimed that while in "most campaigns," "Republicans begin on the right for their campaign and come to the middle for the fall," John McCain is "in the middle and he has to swing right for the primaries." In fact, McCain has already shifted rightward on immigration and taxes, and McCain himself has asserted that he is a "mainstream conservative."
In an article on Sen. John McCain's efforts "to rally conservatives to his candidacy," The Washington Post asserted that McCain "has diverged from conservatives on several issues, including campaign finance legislation, immigration policy and President Bush's tax cuts." But, unlike a previous Post article that documented McCain's "flip-flops" on taxes and immigration, this one did not mention that McCain has changed his positions on those two issues to more closely align himself with the base of the Republican Party.
A New York Times article about Sen. John McCain's speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference asserted that on the issue of immigration, McCain "has not changed his basic position." Similarly, National Public Radio's Mara Liasson stated, "McCain hasn't changed his position on providing illegal aliens with a pathway to citizenship, but he now has a new approach: secure the border first." In fact, McCain's current support for securing the border first represents a reversal of his prior position.